Friday, April 30, 2010

Strawberry Short-Cupcakes and Baking Tips

Here's a few tips I promised that I've learned while baking.  There are many more so I'm just going to give you a few tonight.

1.  Read the recipe that you're using multiple times.  Just like your teacher used to tell you read carefully.  There are some things you don't want to find out later.  For example, many recipes call for reserving flour or sugar for later.  I've made many things where I used the whole cup only to find out later 1/3 was for the top of my dessert, oops!

2.  Make sure you have all the ingredients that sounds simple but I've run out of butter, eggs and all kinds of stuff that if you're baking you absolutely need.

3.  Use the highest quality you can afford.  I like to use the better vanilla if I can get my hands on it etc.  I like to use unsalted butter.  Most baking books will tell you to use this to control your own salt in the recipe.  This can throw things off.

4.  Preheat that oven and make sure to set out eggs and butter at room temperature, most recipes call for this and it will give your dough the right consistency.

5.  For most baking you should mix wet ingredients followed my dry, I don't always sift everything unless I'm making a cake.  I don't thing it really makes a difference in other kinds of desserts. 

6.  This is probably the most important one.  Always measure things...always.  Unless the recipe says to adjust to sweetness follow it completely.  They have been tested for just the right amounts and it can throw everything off.  I once used baking powder instead of baking soda it got much different results. 

Here's a PW version of my step by step of making these cupcakes!  They were very tasty.  My kids ate them up!

Strawberry Short-Cupcakes

my inspiration picture

I just love those full page dessert photos in magazines on the covers.  It's so hard to resist walking by them at the checkout stand. 

Ruby (aka my kitchen aide) is here to lend a hand and she never lets me down.  Yep, I named her LOL! Here's step one cream butter and sugar together.

Here's what it looks like in the bowl

my favorite vanilla

This is the final result, in this recipe you add the wet at the end and it says will be slightly curdled looking.

My secret weapon in getting the batter out of the scoop, spray with a little bit of cooking spray and it comes clean.  The icecream scoop is the perfect size when you need to make a cupcake or muffin.

Here they are ready to go into the oven
supposed to fill 2/3 full

Out of the oven

Assemble the short cake, cut them in half cut side down

The filling was super easy to make

            Final result                                                                             So whatcha think??

Click here to get the recipe

The top was kinda wobbly so I would make changes next time.  However, that said I would make this again.  Here' some more recipes to check out and don't forget my give away closes Sunday at midnight!

Have a great day!


Thursday, April 29, 2010 of my favorite things

Baking has always been one of my favorite things to do.  It wasn't always like that though.  I didn't learn it from my mother as a child.  I started this process as a young bride looking to make my husband smile after a long day of work.  You see my DH and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this August, yes I said 20 years.  It's been quite the journey together.  So imagine about 20 years ago a young american girl learning to bake things in her kitchen.  I spent a lot of time trying many different cakes, cookies and desserts and even a pie or two.  It was then that I fell in love with the process and how it makes people feel when you give them something homemade from the heart.  The story my DH likes to tell people the most is how he came home to a new baked item almost daily when we first got married. 

Imagine an eighteen year old, newly married bride who moved about half a world away from her family.  Not really ,but it was a big jump from small town IN to big city Fort Worth, TX.  I was in culture shock literally.  I missed my mom the most.  She was my caregiver most of my life.  My Dad passed away when I was only seven from cancer.  Then, I also had an Aunt Princess that I have mentioned before in other posts.  She and my Uncle were also a big part of my life, we saw each other weekly and ate together.  One of the things my mom liked to do was cook.  She believe it or not, was not a big baker.  Maybe, I was trying to do something a little different from her but I just knew it was fun.  I enjoyed the process, measuring and following a recipe.  It was something I felt successful with most of the time.  My mom on the other hand just had things she made adding a little of this and that.  It seemed no matter what I did I could not replicate even the most simplest of recipes.  I am learning how to do this now and let go a little of being so precise.  I find that I regularly substitute things, add ingredients or just plain wing it far more than my young self.  My point with my story is this.  It hit me like a ton of bricks today, as young girls we look up to our mothers, grandmothers and aunts and think about how well they cook and feel we can never measure up.  I disagree with this now.  I realized that I have been cooking/baking for 20 years.  I am an experienced cook.  I have success with things and people like my food.  Sometimes they turn out and sometimes they don't that's just how it goes.   So whether you are a cook, baker, or a little bit of everything put some of your reservations behind you and just try new things.  I think it's good for us to keep growing and changing in all aspects of life.  Give yourself credit where credit is due!  Your moms, grandmas and aunts are good cooks but you can be too!

In my next post I thought I would share a few tips for baking (that I have learned) and a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake.  In the next few weeks I plan on showing you around my new landscaping, we have been knee deep in mulch and yep, it's a dirty word! I 've had several comments from you all and I'm really enjoying reading them.  Don't worry there will be plenty of decorating, recipes, make-overs and daily life coming in the future.

If you still haven't entered my give away, go back to the previous post and leave me a comment.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

1 Year Anniversary Give Away!!!

Today I'm announcing my give away.  I have put a lot of thought into the things I chose.  I will explain more on that later.  First off just let me say how flattered I am to have all 136 followers still with me on this wonderful journey.  I can't believe it's been a year that I've been blogging.  We've experienced a lot together.  Job ups and downs with substitute teaching, moving into our house, decorating it, my husband's retirement, birthdays. I feel like I've gotten to know so many people and one day I hope to meet someone via this great blogging world.  If you see me out shopping or thrifting give me a shout out I will be so happy to meet you.

First the rules:

*This is open to my US domestic followers only, sorry international friends.

*You must be a follower but not too worry, if you're not become a follower before Sunday at midnight est. you may enter my give away.

* Leave me a comment and tell me what you like to see more of on my blog or anything that you really enjoy.

* Post about my giveaway on your blog and you can get two entries.  Tell me all about it when you leave your comments.

Deadline is Sunday at midnight eastern standard time.

Here's the goods:

Here's some of the things that you will receive:   Primitive candle holder,  sweet berry candle + spring colors wreath, nest, small Rooster picture, Spinach artichoke mix, flag plant pick

I thought long and hard about what items I wanted to put in this give away, I really wanted it to reflect me and my blog.  I wanted a little spring time in there.  I wanted you to have something yummy to make that won't take up too much time.  I also wanted your house to smell yummy and you know how I love candles.  Then I wanted you to have something fun to wear while working in the kitchen.  When you wear it you can think of me! wink wink!!

This sweet lil' apron I'm wearin'

I had to have a little Americana in there.   This will be perfect in a planter by the front door.

A close-up of the nest and rooster picture. 

This little candle and wreath is from Warm Glow candles not too far from my house and a must stop.  Their are little yellow flowers and willow buds mixed in the wreath.  It says Spring to me!

Good luck!  Thanks for following!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Strawberry Romanoff Pancakes with a Brown Sugar-Cream Sauce

Good morning folks, it's been a hectic weekend.  My son just started baseball and we had a tournament with no idea how many times or when exactly he would play so I tried all weekend to get a post up!  I got this from Southern Living 2009 Annual Recipe edition.  It's one of those try it for 30 days in the mail books.  Normally, I wouldn't go for this but I couldn't resist after fixing some mouthwatering things from the flyer.  I had to get more recipes.  Someone my DH knows just loves their cookbooks and she recommended it too. 

My kids love these and they aren't real big fruit pancake kids normally so that amazed me.

Here's the pancake part:  Makes 18 small 2 1/2 inch thin pancakes.

1 cup cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. orange zest
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Mix dry ingredients.  Then add wet ingredients and whisk together. Let stand a few minutes.  This makes your batter fluffy.  *Note I let my stand overnight and they were pretty thin, not very fluffy so maybe that's what was wrong with mine.   If you like thinner pancakes which I do then these are for you!


16 oz. or 2 containers of strawberries cleaned, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. or orange liquor or orange juice * I used the juice because of my kiddos

Let this mixture stand for a few minutes to macerate the fruit.

Brown Sugar-Cream Mixture

1 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
Stir together and let chill for 30 minutes.

To assemble pancakes stack pancake, then layer strawberries and a dollop of sugar-cream mixture on top.  These are so thin that you could make multiple stacks. 

The pancake recipe was very easy but if you're short on time you can always use a buttermilk mix.  Also, the book gives a great alternative to any leftovers.  Simply use the strawberries and puree' them, add vanilla icecream and milk for a great shake.  My kids loved these, my son ate seconds. 

If you haven't heard yet The Primitive Place has a new magazine coming out.  Check it out here!  I'm looking forward to seeing these wonderful homes. 


Have a great day! I'll be back tomorrow with my GIVE AWAY!!!!


Friday, April 23, 2010

All American Boys Room

Good morning!  I thought I'd share my sons rooms.  He had trucks before and was really into Bob the Builder so it was time for a change.  I didn't want him to go super heros or transformers.  He's into Star Wars right now.  I knew it would change by the minute.  He loves cars so he decided on racing.  I got him plain bedding that we can reverse.  Also, I accented it with sports memorabilia.  He loves sports too.  He has the Wallies as they are called.  You can find these at home improvement stores and bigger chain stores or order them online.  They peel off super easy and yes we've tried it- my son changed his mind a few times.

This is a shot from the entrance of the room.  We bought his furniture and her furniture at the same time when he was about 2 and ready for a big bed.  We used rails on the side for awhile.  We got good quality for both of them.  We wanted it to last as long as possible.

We used the pillow as an inspiration point.  I bought the bedding at the Base Exchange BX (kinda a military walmart) in a set.  The pillow was a find at Marshall's and the basketball lamp my inlaws found at a garage sale.

These are pictures that I had from my dad's and his father's coaching of basketball.  I simply put them in a black frame. My Dad was a huge basketball fan so if he was still living I'm sure he would have taught my son all that he knew about the game. This is a way for them to have a connection through their love of sports.  My son was named after him also his middle name is Louis.

I put some of his favorite pictures in red frames.  His favorite color is red.  (his mom approves!) LOL!

close up of the Wallies

This is his toy shelf.  He needs a desk too. We still have some things that need to be weeded out but this is pretty much it.  I would rather allow my kids to use their imagination than get them lots of stuff they don't play with.  This may not look like a lot to most people but he has a few drawers on the side of his bed and just a few things in his closet.  The play room has a closet with art supplies, games and a shelf for books.  My husband and I decided a long time ago that spoiling them was not something we thought was going to help them in life.

Hope you have enjoyed this tour!

I'll be back with a recipe and give away coming next week!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pink and Orange Tween Room

Hello bloggers, I am finally getting the rooms posted.  Whoo Hoo!  When we moved into this new house my DD expressed her need to be less princess and wanted a more grown up room.  That meant no flowers absolutely none!  I did sneak some into her curtains. We've gotten rid of just about all her old princess things and have gone in favor of bright fushia and orange.  She had seen a room in a magazine and that was her inspiration.  We're not quite done.  She has some bright pink shelves that we still need to put up in her room.  Also, I'm on the hunt for a desk so she can draw.  She has been drawing and sketching since she could put a pencil or crayon in her hand.  The need to have a quiet place to do her homework or study is also a concern.  We have looked at many stores but unfortunately either the desks are specific for computers with little to no storage or are just real expensive.  I think we're going to find an older desk and just paint it to suit her needs. 

The cat is a permanent fixture on the bed, LOL! He really loves his girl. 

We got the bedding at JCPenney, the lamp and picture is from Hobby Lobby.  It says "My days are always happy and bright!"

We painted our kids rooms both a nice clean white and it does wipe clean. LOL!  Then we bought these vinyl clings for their rooms so when they change their mind about what they want we just peel them right off. It sure beats painting and taking wall borders off!  My daughter has random polka dots of different sizes and her name.  I'll show you my sons choice tomorrow.

her dresser

Her collection of webkinz and you can see her new Glinda on top too.

Click here for more info on the dots/name.  The lady that sells these makes many different kinds and colors.

Hope you enjoyed a different kind of decorating style, maybe you got some ideas for your kids or grandkids rooms.  I'll be back to share my boys room soon.  Don't forget I'll be posting pics of my April give away soon to celebrate my 1 year anniversary of blogging!  It will be a good one too, I promise.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

We've had a busy few weeks for afterschool activities.  My daughter played Glinda the Good Witch of the South in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  She tried out after Christmas and started rehearsing in February.  It turned out great.  I am so proud of her.  She had a small part but this is the first play she's been in so I told her this was the way to do it.  All the kids did a good job.  The rehearsing paid off and everyone really enjoyed it. 

I bought her a small pink rose bush rather than a bouquet so she can keep it to remind her of her part as Glinda.  I also got her a Glinda Barbie made from in the year she was born.  I think she really liked that. 

Hope you're having a great weekend!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beautiful Spring Weather!

It's been so pretty here alas our forecast has rain in it ,but I sure can't complain after this kind of weather!  Here's some random pics I took of the yard.  We've already had a showing for forsynthia's, hyacinths and daffodils.  Now, I have Irises getting ready to bloom, strawberries growing and tulips galore!  It's been such a wonderful surprise to see what is growing in my backyard lately! We've been weeding like crazy and are behind.  My DH just purchased a truck bed full of mulch and I'm wondering if it will be enough.  We have so much we want to do in the yard.  We want to plant some apple trees.

anyone know about this snowball bushes?? I'd love to know what they are...they are kinda pale pink

my front door

This is such a pretty tulip variety.

These are kinda lacey around the edges. So pretty!

I don't understand why some of these pictures are flipped blogger is so frustrating sometimes.

Have a good day!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Conner Prairie Field Trip

Hello bloggers! I've starting subbing again after almost a year.  I was back in the saddle again and full speed three days in a row.  I was kinda excited about it ,but sad at the same time.  I just hope this leads to something more permanent.  The school district we came from didn't pay that great but I made 20 more a day than here, go figure?  I don't understand how people can survive on pay so low.  I'm just counting my lucky stars my husband still gets his full pay and we have savings.  I don't have to count on it for anything just extra money.  Imagine if I was just out of college trying to pay my rent and loan back, ugh! 

baby lambs in the barn

This was a man who was dressed up in Native costume as a Delaware Indian.  I think the kids really learned a lot from him.

Anyway, enough about teaching I will show you some great pics of Conner Prairie the first field trip my DH was able to go on with my DD ever!  It was a very nice day.  It's set up as an Indiana town back in the 1800's and since 4th grade is the big year to start studying the state history it was perfect.  My favorite part of the day was sitting in the school rooms.  It's divided into different time periods.  It was so fascinating.  I thought all of you might enjoy looking at the different pieces of furniture and everyday household things that they used since most of us tend to like antiques. 

This was my daughter's group standing outside the Conner house.  Mr. Conner made his money trading furs.  This house was just lovely and had been restored a few times.

the bee hive oven

This was a store

This was one of the beds in a house, the chalkboard in one of the classrooms.  The teacher told us that pupils did not attend school but a only few months a year and they started very early in the morning so many had to wake early and do chores and return home for dinner because it was usually a few miles from their home.

I wanted to take this home and put it in my kitchen.

There were letters all over for the kids to read and they gave clues to different famlies and their relationships to one another.  At the doctor's house they gave my daughter and her friend a task to find something.   He told my daughters friend she could not be a doctor because she was a girl.  This really puzzled her.  We all learned a lot that day.  You can read more about Conner Prairie and if you live in the area you should go  visit.

I haven't forgotten about my kids bedroom tours, we just need to get our spring/summer wardrobes organized first.  Then last but not least I'm working on my give away to celebrate my one year of blogging anniversary.  I'm still working to get it all together.  It will be worth the wait, stay tuned...